Representatives of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) and the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers (ITUJMW) had meeting yesterday with Minister of Justice Bojan Marichich to discuss improving the safety of journalists and media workers and the influence of political parties on the media independence.
One of the topics at the meeting was the requests from the journalistic organizations for amendment of the Criminal Code through which the media professionals will be covered by special provisions regarding their safety. It was agreed that AJM and ITUJMW will be part of the working group for defining the provisions of this law in the part of criminal acts that refer to different forms of attacks and threats to the safety of journalists and media workers.
The request of both organizations is that the changes in the Criminal Code should be in the direction that the attacks and threats against journalists should institutions to be obligated to investigate and sanction ex officio, and the penalties for the attackers should be higher.
“Institutions must address impunity and be more effective when it comes to attacks and threats against journalists, as only then media professionals will be able to do their job freely and without pressure, which is in the public interest” stated from ITUJMW.
AJM and ITUJMW also presented arguments in which directions the amendments to the Law on Defamation and Insult should be, in order to provide additional protection to journalists, but also to the Election Law in the part of paid political program. Representatives of journalists’ organizations pointed out the negative consequences of public money for paid political program, reminding that in this manner the media is being corrupted and their editorial policy is influenced.
The President of AJM, Chadikovski, pointed out: “the political parties in the last elections held private party in the media with their party campaigns and it was all at the expense of the citizens and the public interest was not observed.”
Minister Marichich pledged in the working groups for amendment of these laws to have members from AJM and ITUJMW who will be able to present their arguments for the requests in order to improve systemic solutions in the sector. According to the Minister, some of the laws will be adopted by the end of this year, and the rest by the beginning of next year.